City will not press charges against any of 84 protesters arrested during Stephon Clark march
iStock/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — None of the 84 protesters arrested in the wake of of Sacramento’s decision not to press charges against city police officers for the shooting death of Stephon Clark last year will face charges.
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert made the announcement on Friday, saying, “In the interest of justice, no charges will be filed in any of the cases submitted.”
Schubert is the same person who made the decision not to press charges against two Sacramento police officers — Terrence Mercadel and Jared Robinet — involved in the shooting death of Clark, a black 22-year-old from East Sacramento, on March 18, 2018.
Police responded to reports of a person breaking into cars and chased Clark through several backyards before he was shot outside his grandmother’s home. He was unarmed, with police officers saying they believed a cellphone in his hand was a gun.
The 84 protesters, many holding “Black Lives Matter” signs or invoking the names of other black men killed by police such as Michael Brown or Eric Garner, were arrested March 4 for unlawful assembly after allegedly ignoring police orders to disperse.
Rev. Kevin Kitrell Ross, from Unity of Sacramento, was one of those arrested on Monday night.
“I am grateful that the charges have been dropped against the peaceful protesters, who should not have been arrested in the first place,” Ross told Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV.
“The charges being dropped is insufficient without the acknowledgment that this was cruel,” Ross added.
Sacramento Bee reporter Dale Kasler, who was covering the protests, was also among those arrested. His arrest drew swift condemnation from Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
“No member of the press should be detained for doing their job,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg supported Schubert’s decision not to press charges against any of those arrested: “I appreciate her decision not to file charges against Monday night’s peaceful protesters. It was the right thing to do.”
The Sacramento Police Department released its review of the March 4 protest on Friday, as well. The department defended its conduct in arresting the 84 people, and diverted from the mayor’s claim of the protests being peaceful.
“Initially, protestors marched in the street peacefully,” police said in its release. “Over the next two hours, however, the circumstances began to change. The group of protestors blocked access to a hospital in the area. Multiple vehicles were vandalized during the protest.
“For approximately one hour and forty minutes, thirty dispersal orders were given. … Some participants left the area, however, a large group remained,” the statement continued. “In the interest of community safety, protection of property and after multiple requests to disperse were made, officers proceeded with an orderly arrest process.”
Protests continued Tuesday night at a city council hearing, with citizens angrily ripping into the council and often unleashing profanity-laced attacks.
Two days after Schubert announced the city did not find the officers committed a crime, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the state’s investigation had also not found reason to charge Mercadel or Robinet in the deadly shooting.
A federal investigation into whether the two officers committed a crime is ongoing.
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